What Is The Outlook For A Person With Hydrocephalus
The outlook for someone with hydrocephalus depends largely on the extent of the symptoms. Many children experience lifelong brain damage. By working with professionals including pediatricians, special education teachers, mental health providers, occupational therapists, developmental therapists, and pediatric neurologists, children can learn to manage their disability and lessen the lifelong effects.
Adults with severe symptoms of hydrocephalus might need to work with occupational therapists. Others may require long-term care. Some might need the care of medical specialists who focus on dementia.
The long-term effects of this condition vary widely, depending on individual circumstances. Talk to your doctor for a more case-specific outlook.
Water And Brain Functionhow To Improve Memory And Focusby Merlin Hearn And Nancy Hearn Cnc
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Drinking water and brain function are integrally linked. Lack of water to the brain can cause numerous symptoms including problems with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression, and many more.
Over 70 percent of your body is composed of water and every function in the body is dependent on water, including the activities of the brain and nervous system.
The average person in the U.S. drinks less than a quart of water a day.
Yet according to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 80 ounces of water every day through sweating, breathing, and eliminating wastes.
If you are drinking less than 80 ounces of water a day, what is the impact on your brain function?
What Is The Outlook For Hydrocephalus
With surgery and monitoring, many people with hydrocephalus go on to lead normal lives. However, the condition and complications from surgery can vary greatly from person to person. Its important to work with your healthcare provider to get the care you need.
Hydrocephalus poses a unique risk to both cognitive and physical development in children. Parents of children with hydrocephalus should talk to their healthcare providers to ensure a positive outcome.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Finding out someone you love has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus can be scary. But its important to remember youre not alone. Your healthcare provider can give you the tools and resources you need to support your family. By staying well informed and planning appropriately, your loved one can realize their dreams of living a normal, happy life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/26/2022.
- Abdel-Latif AM, Greenfield JP. Hydrocephalus and Ventriculomegaly. In: Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Caroline B. Long, eds. Common Neurosurgical Conditions in the Pediatric Practice. 1st ed. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, 2017:163-176. Accessed 4/26/2022.
- Fetal Health Foundation. Ventriculomegaly. Accessed 4/26/2022.
- Hydrocephalus Association. About Hydrocephalus. Accessed 4/26/2022.
- Hydrocephalus. Accessed 4/26/2022.
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How Much Of Your Brain Is Water
The human brain is comprised of 77 to 78 percent water. Lipids, or fats, contribute 10 to 12 percent to brain mass, proteins make up 8 percent, 2 percent is composed of soluble organic substances, and carbohydrates and inorganic salts each contribute 1 percent.
Although composed primarily of water, the brain requires a sufficient daily intake of water to function properly. Brain cells that are deprived of too much water lose efficiency. Dehydration can cause impairment to the attention span, short-term memory, long-term memory and mathematical abilities.
The medical condition hydrocephalus, commonly referred to as water on the brain, is not actually caused by the presence of too much water in the brain. Rather, it is caused by a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid, the clear, colorless liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Hydrocephalus can occur at any time during human development and may be caused by birth defects, infections, brain hemorrhage, strokes, tumors or trauma to the head. Hydrocephalus is typically treated by one of two surgical procedures: the insertion of a drainage system called a shunt or a procedure known as endoscopic third ventriculostomy, in which tiny holes are made in the brains ventricles to drain the fluid.
Water Helps Improve Brains Efficiency
Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate optimally or else it could reduce the brains cells efficiency. When the brain is not performing at its best, due to dehydration, you could lose the ability to concentrate for a longer period. It could also lead to mood swings and affect your memory. Thus, to improve the efficiency of your brain, drinking water is essential.
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What Is Wet Brain
Wet brain is a term used to describe the chronic brain disorder, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome or Korsakoffs psychosis. Wet brain is caused by Thiamine deficiency and typically occurs among people suffering from alcohol addiction.1 Wet brain from alcohol damages the lower parts of the brain known as the thalamus and hypothalamus and may also result in permanent brain damage and memory problems.
Hydrocephalus Present From Birth
Congenital hydrocephalus is when a baby is born with excess fluid in their brain.
Many babies born with hydrocephalus have permanent brain damage.
This can cause several long-term complications, such as:
If your child has learning disabilities, they’ll need extra support from their nursery or school to ensure their needs are being met.
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The Water In You: Water And The Human Body
Think of what you need to survive, really just survive. Food? Water? Air? Facebook? Naturally, I’m going to concentrate on water here. Water is of major importance to all living things in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.
According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.
Each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters per day. All of the water a person needs does not have to come from drinking liquids, as some of this water is contained in the food we eat.
Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going
- A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material.
- It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration
- The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream
- It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination
- acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus
- forms saliva
- lubricates joints
The Ways Drinking Water Affects Your Brain: Youll Boost Your Concentration
People dont usually notice dehydration. You generally only notice in in extreme situations, once youve started to feel dizzy or your skin has dried out.
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You might not realize it, but your brain does. You lose your ability to focus because your brain is conserving its resources. Your memory slows down. It becomes more difficult to concentrate and you cant react as quickly to stimuli.
Its true that drinking coffee or tea can also help you, but you shouldnt drink them all day.
You need to have at least a sip of water every 45 minutes. This is the amount of time it takes for your attention span to start to decline.
Nothing makes a better remedy than a little bit of water.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dehydration
Even a small amount of dehydrationas little as 1%can affect your cognitive function.
While everybody is different, some of the most common warning signs that you’re dehydrated include:
Dark yellow urine, or very infrequent trips to the bathroom
Dry eyes, dry skin or a dry mouth
Mood changes and mood swings, including anxiety, stress and irritability
Fluctuations in your energy levels, including a general sense of fatigue and exhaustion, or higher levels of mental fatigue, lack of mental alertness, etc.
Advanced Treatments At Princeton Brain Spine & Sports Medicine
PBSSM neurosurgeons are at the height of surgical innovation and are trained and experienced in advanced techniques like ventriculoscopy. Through our association with leading NJ and PA hospitals, we also have access to state-of-the-art surgical facilities and equipment.
Our compassionate, patient-focused practice provides the knowledge clients need to make informed healthcare decisions. To learn more about treatment options for hydrocephalus or to schedule an appointment with our neurosurgical providers, call 215.741.3141 in Pennsylvania, 609.921.9001 in New Jersey, or contact PBSSM online.
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Treating Fluid On The Brain
The treatments for fluid on the brain will differ from person to person depending on the cause. The most common treatment is the surgical insertion of a shunt that allows the CSF to flow to a different area of the body and become absorbed by the circulatory system.
In very rare cases, doctors can use a small tool to make a hole in the ventricle so that the fluid can bypass whatever is causing the blockage. This treatment is not feasible for most people suffering from hydrocephalus.
It Helps Balance Your Mood And Your Emotions
Another amazing way water affects your brain, as odd as it may sound, is its impact on your mental health. But we all know that looking at the sea is very relaxing. You feel the wind, hear the waters roar, and take in its salty air. Its not just seeing water that affects your emotions, though. Drinking water has a big impact too.
Its simple: you increase your brains temperature and get rid of toxins and dead cells. It also balances your chemical processes and does a kind of mental restart.
Now, this doesnt mean that you use water as some kind of fast-acting cure-all. Drinking two glasses of water in a row wont make problems go away.
Its like we said earlier on: the important thing is to stay hydrated. Take small sips throughout the day. This way, your cells will stay active and find a good balance. This balance will also help regulate your stress and anxiety.
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Water And Brain Challenges
Dr. Allen has found that people with brain challenges such as Autism, Aspergers, ADD, head injuries, anxiety attacks and depression often drink almost no water each day! The lack of water only enhances brain dysfunction.
Brain inflammation is often associated with various types of brain challenges, especially injuries, and will often result in the bodys inability to detoxify harmful substances from the brain.
When the body is dehydrated, the detoxification problem linked to inflammation is exacerbated.
Free radicals such as radiation, pollutants, chemicals, pesticides, and toxic metals pass freely through the brains blood supply. To stop the many sources of free radicals attacking the brain and causing brain inflammation, a strong antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory agent is needed.
The Advanced Learning and Development Institute has found that one of the best sources of antioxidants for their participants has been ionized alkaline water, which is hydrogen rich.
Adding ionized water to their treatment protocol program has significantly helped many of their patients in cognitive function, showing as much as a 35 percent improvement.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Treatment And Home Care
Normal pressure hydrocephalus can sometimes be managed or possibly even reversed through surgery. For those who are not candidates for surgery, treatment consists of measures to relieve mood and behavioral problems, cope with physical problems such as incontinence and walking difficulties, and maximize physical, mental, and social functioning.
Surgery for normal pressure hydrocephalus
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is not caused by any structural abnormality, such as a brain tumor. In most cases, the underlying problem is not known or cannot be treated. The treatment in these cases is a shunt operation.
A shunt is a thin tube that is implanted in the brain by a neurosurgeon. It is inserted into the ventricles to drain excess CSF away from the brain. The tube is routed under the skin from the head to another part of the body, usually the peritoneum . The shunt is equipped with a valve that opens to release fluid when the pressure builds up. The fluid drains harmlessly and is later absorbed by the bloodstream. The pressure setting on the valve sometimes must be readjusted. The newer shunts allow adjustment without another operation.
A shunt operation is not a cure. It does not treat the underlying cause of NPH. It can, however, relieve the symptoms. The shunt remains in place indefinitely. If properly implanted, the shunt often is not obvious to other people.
Caring for someone with normal pressure hydrocephalus
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What Is The Gray Matter And White Matter
Gray and white matter are two different regions of the central nervous system. In the brain, gray matter refers to the darker, outer portion, while white matter describes the lighter, inner section underneath. In the spinal cord, this order is reversed: The white matter is on the outside, and the gray matter sits within.
Gray matter is primarily composed of neuron somas , and white matter is mostly made of axons wrapped in myelin . The different composition of neuron parts is why the two appear as separate shades on certain scans.
Each region serves a different role. Gray matter is primarily responsible for processing and interpreting information, while white matter transmits that information to other parts of the nervous system.
You’ll Think And Focus Better
Water helps your brain cells communicate with each other, clears out toxins and waste that impairs brain function, and carries nutrients to your brain. This all falls apart if your fluid levels drop.
Staying hydrated has been linked to:
Faster decision making and improved performance on cognitive tests
Better concentration and enhanced short-term memory
Higher test scores in an educational context
Improved focus and decreased mental fatigue
Stronger cognitive functioning across the board, including more alertness, less confusion, and even improved learning
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Lobes Of The Brain And What They Control
Each brain hemisphere has four sections, called lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. Each lobe controls specific functions.
- Frontal lobe. The largest lobe of the brain, located in the front of the head, the frontal lobe is involved in personality characteristics, decision-making and movement. Recognition of smell usually involves parts of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe contains Brocas area, which is associated with speech ability.
- Parietal lobe. The middle part of the brain, the parietal lobe helps a person identify objects and understand spatial relationships . The parietal lobe is also involved in interpreting pain and touch in the body. The parietal lobe houses Wernickes area, which helps the brain understand spoken language.
- Occipital lobe. The occipital lobe is the back part of the brain that is involved with vision.
- Temporal lobe. The sides of the brain, temporal lobes are involved in short-term memory, speech, musical rhythm and some degree of smell recognition.
Causes Of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
This condition affects people aged at least 50 in most cases, doctors dont know what caused it. Sometimes, it may develop after a stroke, infection, or injury to the brain.
There are two theories:
- CSF is not reabsorbed into the bloodstream properly. Because of this, the brain starts to produce less new CSF, resulting in a gradual rise in pressure over a long period. The gradual rise in pressure may cause progressive brain damage.
- An underlying condition, such as heart disease, high blood cholesterol level, or diabetes affects normal blood flow, which may lead to a softening of brain tissue. The softened brain tissue results in increasing pressure.
Babies and young children :
A routine prenatal ultrasound scan may detect hydrocephalus during pregnancy in the developing fetus.
After birth, the head of the baby is measured regularly. Any abnormalities in head size will probably lead to further diagnostic tests.
If an ultrasound scan shows any abnormality, further tests will be ordered, such as an MRI scan or a CT scan, which give more detailed images of the brain.
Acquired hydrocephalus if the child or adult develops the signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus the doctor will:
- Examine the patients medical history.
- Carry out a physical and neurological examination.
- Order an imaging scan, such as a CT or MRI scan.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus diagnosing this type of hydrocephalus is more tricky because symptoms are more subtle and do not appear suddenly.
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What Causes Hydrocephalus
In the past, hydrocephalus was referred to as “water on the brain”. However, the brain is not surrounded by water but by a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid .
CSF has 3 important functions:
- it protects the brain from damage
- it removes waste products from the brain
- it provides the brain with the nutrients it needs to function properly
The brain constantly produces new CSF , while old fluid is released from the brain and absorbed into the blood vessels.
But if this process is interrupted, the amount of CSF can quickly build up, cause pressure in the brain.
Read more about the causes of hydrocephalus.
What Is The Prognosis
The prognosis for patients diagnosed with hydrocephalus is difficult to predict, although there is some correlation between the specific cause of hydrocephalus and the patient’s outcome. Prognosis is further complicated by the presence of associated disorders, the timeliness of diagnosis, and the success of treatment. The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus usually get worse over time if the condition is not treated, although some people may experience temporary improvements. If left untreated, progressive hydrocephalus is fatal, with rare exceptions. The parents of children with hydrocephalus should be aware that hydrocephalus poses risks to both cognitive and physical development. Treatment by an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and educational experts is critical to a positive outcome. Many children diagnosed with the disorder benefit from rehabilitation therapies and educational interventions, and go on to lead normal lives with few limitations.
Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.
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